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Vietnam’s real estate tycoon probed for defrauding customers in Hanoi apartment project

Thursday, July 11, 2019, 10:10 GMT+7
Vietnam’s real estate tycoon probed for defrauding customers in Hanoi apartment project
Vietnamese real estate tycoon Le Thanh Than. Photo: cafef.vn

Hanoi police have opened an investigation into a series of construction violations at a local apartment project and launched legal proceedings against a local real estate tycoon on charges of “defrauding customers” for his alleged role in the case.

Le Thanh Than, chairman of Muong Thanh Group, one of the biggest private owners of hotels and resorts in Vietnam, is being probed for his involvement in the construction violations at the CT6 apartment building project in Kien Hung Urban Area in Ha Dong District.

The project is developed by Bemes Production and Import-Export JSC, where Than serves as the director general.

A leader from the Hanoi People’s Procuracy told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday legal proceedings were initiated against Than on July 5.

The procuracy approved the decision on July 8, with Than now barred from leaving his place of residence.

According to the procuracy, the Kien Hung project featured one building that was built without a license, while Bemes allegedly provided customers with misleading information on the legal status of the apartment units.

The developer claimed the apartments’ owners would be eligible for the land use rights certificates to lure customers to make advance payments.

All the apartments have already been sold, but customers have not obtained the certificates, known as ‘red books’ in Vietnamese, as of now.

What’s worse is that land authorities will deny their requests to be given the red books, on the ground of the properties’ insufficient licensing.

Police executed a search warrant at Than’s private residence and Bemes company on Monday, seizing caches of documents during the search.

According to the Vietnam News Agency, this is the first time Hanoi’s procuracy has charged someone with defrauding customers, despite it being included in the Penal Code through multiple revisions from 1985 to 2015.

The “defrauding customers” charge is similar to the “defrauding to misappropriate assets” crime, but the former involves the use of tricks to misguide customers and that the customers are the only party suffering from losses as the result of the action.

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